WASHINGTON — Following a series of racist and anti-Semitic mailers targeting Black and Jewish candidates in Virginia, the DLCC today called on the Republican candidates, Virginia Republican Party, and RSLC to disavow these mailers, issue a sincere apology, and stop funding these horrific and racist campaign materials.
Over the weekend, a mailer sent by the Virginia Republican Party in support of candidate Karen Greenhalgh depicted Del. Alex Askew (HD-85) as tightly bound and hanging off the ground by ropes. Similar mailers sent in support of Tara Durant and H. Otto Wachsmann Jr. depicted Del. Josh Cole (HD-28) and Del. Roz Tyler (HD- 75) also hanging by ropes.
“It’s clear the Virginia Republican Party and the RSLC believe that racism and anti-Semitism are winning campaign strategies,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “They have moved beyond dog whistles and are now pushing unapologetically and blatantly racist tropes and stereotypes, without any regard for the very real consequences. Virginia has a long, dark racial history as the birthplace of American slavery and segregation, the location of lynchings and white supremacy, and the capital of the Confederacy. Exploiting this history — and the present-day lingering consequences like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville — for a political “win” is shameful. There is no place for racism in our politics or our communities. The Republican candidates, Virginia Republican Party, and RSLC must immediately apologize to these candidates and the commonwealth for funding and sending these racist mailers and stop relying on these lazy, racist, and appalling tactics.”
Over the past several weeks, the Virginia GOP and its candidates have shown a pattern of using racist and anti-Semitic language and images to attack Democratic candidates. Virginia Republican House candidate Harold Pyon authorized a blatantly anti-Semitic mailer targeting his opponent Del. Dan Helmer (HD-40), who is Jewish and the grandson of Holocaust survivors. Republican candidate Hahns Copeland tweeted an incredibly anti-Semitic comment about Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, who is the first Jewish speaker of the House in Virginia. Del. Josh Cole (HD-28) and Del. Alex Askew (HD-85) faced similar attacks that darkened their skin tones. The anti-Askew ad on behalf of Republican candidate Karen Greenhalgh showed his image burning, playing on one of the most dangerous and racist tropes in American history.
The Virginia GOP’s dog whistling of violence and white supremacy has also created a breeding ground for threats against sitting lawmakers. These actions have real consequences; just last week, Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn was the target of a violent plot, marking the latest threat against a woman lawmaker in the country. The Virginia Republican caucus had the most sitting legislators participate in the January 6th insurrection.